(Washington, D.C.—Jan. 16, 2014) U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (Ill.-14) advocated for Chinese dissident Zhu Yufu today in a Defending Freedoms hearing focusing on prisoners of conscience around the world, which was held by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.
Zhu Yufu was arrested on March 5, 2011 for publishing a pro-democracy poem entitled “It’s Time,” which supported the Arab Spring protests.
“Zhu has spent 696 days behind the walls of the overcrowded Zhejiang Prison Number 4 in China for his pro-democracy activities,” a press release from Hultgren’s office said.
ChinaAid applauds Hultgren’s effort to fight the injustices faced by Zhu.
The video of Hultgren’s remarks can be viewed below:
The following is Hultgren’s prepared statement for the hearing:
Good morning. I would like to thank my colleagues and Commission Co-chairmen Frank Wolf and Jim McGovern for convening this important hearing.
I also want to commend each of the panelists testifying here today and the organizations they represent for their tireless efforts on behalf of prisoners of conscience everywhere. I wholeheartedly support your work.
This hearing presents the ideal opportunity for me to bring attention to the plight of one prisoner of conscience in particular – Zhu Yufu.
Today, as I speak, Zhu Yufu is spending his 696th day behind the walls of the overcrowded Zhejiang Prison Number 4 in China.
An advocate for democracy, Christian dissident, and poet, Zhu Yufu started the “May 4 Monthly,” a pro-democracy publication and was elected head of the magazine.
Subsequently, he was often summoned by authorities and his house was frequently searched.
Zhu actively supported the students’ democracy movement and was one of the founders of the China Democracy Party.
For this, Zhu was arrested on the false charge of “inciting subversion of state power,” sentenced to prison, and deprived of his political rights.
He is a prisoner of conscience, unable to enjoy the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Today, Zhu Yufu languishes in prison. He suffers from many diseases and his health is extremely poor. Prison authorities refuse to let him seek treatment or medication.
According to Zhu’s wife, prison regulations to relieve overcrowding permit Zhu to be eligible for community supervision or medical parole.
Yet prison authorities refuse to transfer him. In fact, they have explicitly denied Zhu’s release on the basis that he is a political prisoner who opposes the state. Zhu is the only eligible prisoner in the entire prison who is being denied release.
Zhu Yufu cannot speak for himself, so others, including myself, must advocate on his behalf.
Last year, as part of the Defending Freedoms Project of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, I “adopted” Zhu Yufu as a prisoner of conscience.
Through this and similar “adoptions” by my colleagues in Congress, we seek to pierce the darkness and shatter the silence that has enveloped Zhu Yufu and others like him.
Silence is not an option. Silence means Zhu Yufu likely will remain in prison and the government of China will elude accountability for its deplorable human rights violations.
Thank you for this opportunity to shine a light on the plight of Zhu Yufu and for the efforts of everyone here who are raising their voices on behalf of prisoners of conscience.